Spotlight on Knit Knacks

Monica Russel

is primarily a freelance designer for magazines, books and yarn companies. She sells knitting patterns, books, yarns made from natural fibres, knitting kits and single patterns through her website Knit Knacks


Monica runs knitting workshops in East Sussex,  The Knitting and Stitching shows at Alexandra Palace, Harrogate and Olympia and at  Knitting shops and venues across the UK.

If you love knitting and want to face new challenges, why not learn how to create Fair Isle patterns at Monca's Fair Isle workshop at this year's Festiwool.

Spotlight on


Anna is one half of the husband and wife team that is Spinspired.  Spinspired produces a wide range of fibre related materials and equipment, from hand washed and carded fleece, hand dyed/spun yarns and threads, exclusive knitting patterns/kits, garments and accessories, to hand crafted tapestry looms, peg looms, blending boards and drop spindles. Spinspired also offers workshops and demonstrations for individuals and groups to learn a wide variety of fibre and textile based skills and crafts.

Anna has been designing and creating textiles since her early teens. Her main influences are from nature, and she is passionate about using natural fibres and fabrics in my designs. She particularly enjoys bringing together the wide variety of skills and techniques she have developed over years of experimentation and practical application.

There are two workshops on offer at this year's Festiwool, Beginning Weaving, and Drop Spindle Spinning.

Spotlight on Beaker Button

Jen has been crafting since she was tiny, inspired by her Gran to knit, crochet, embroider, sew and make buttons. She's spent the last 35 years with something woolly in her hands.

Jen set Beaker Button up in 2011, after years of dreaming of owning a yarn shop. This gave her the time and resources to really explore Dorset buttons and what you can do with them.

Jen has written four button books, and several smaller instruction booklets to get people addicted to making buttons.  She teaches classes all over the country in various forms of button making. They are without a doubt the crafting love of her life.

Jen is currently planning the next Dorset button craft book, and developing a new range of kits with art buttons, like her my tree of life hanging button.

Why not take a class with Jen at this Year's Festiwool event, and pay a reduced entry fee.

Spotlight on the Bloggers

Meet the face behind Cherry Heart

Sandra Paul

is the craft blogger, podcaster and pattern designer behind Cherry Heart, who loves to crochet, knit and sew. She lives in a small village in Bedfordshire with her husband, daughter, a couple of pets and an ever expanding stash of yarn and fabric.

Re-discovering knitting as an adult by dusting off some rusty childhood skills one Christmas Day, it was only a matter of weeks before she knew that she needed to learn crochet too.  One how to book, and a stressful evening of fumbled fingers later, a slightly crooked granny square and a brand new obsession had been born.

These days there’s always something on the hook or the needles and Sandra’s blog has expanded from simply being a place to share her crafty adventures into a home for all kinds of handy tutorials and beautiful patterns.

Sandra will be taking part in the mingle and chat taking place in The Green Room at this year's Festiwool. As an enthusiastic VLogger, there may well be a podcast of the event on her Blog.

Spotlight on the Spotted Sheep

The Spotted Sheep


Jacqui is the owner of The Spotted Sheep. She is an avid knitter, whowanted to create a wool shop that she would want to shop in; a shop brimming over with beautiful wools and yarns for every project, great and small.

Jaqui will be running a crochet workshop on 11/11/2017 at Festiwool

The Spotted Sheep is situated in the prettiest part of Leighton Buzzard, and from the outside looks like The Old Curiosity Shop, quaint and lovely. The shop is staffed by Jacqui, Sheila and Vi, three passionate yarnies. They opened the shop in October 2015, with the aim of providing a fun, homely place that makes you feel as if you're popping into a friends house, sitting at the kitchen table, and chatting.  

The Staff wanted to provide a myriad of choices and brands, with the aim that there would wools and yarns for all pockets and projects. That's why you find such a broad range, from the ever popular Stylecraft Special dk; Yak, cottons, merino, and mulberry silk yarns by Katia; Juniper Moon Farm; WYS; Fyberspates; Sublime and many many more.

The Spotted Sheep stocks a wide range of needles and notions, you know some of the things you can only get in specialist shops! The Spotted Sheep is super proud to be the first stockists of Yarntelier, a Yorkshire Cashmere created by Louisa Harding.

There are events at the shop, including visits by Louisa and Erika Knight, Yarn Shop Day, special offer days, workshops and Prosecco and Cupcake private open-evenings for knitting & crochet groups.

You'll always find a warm welcome at the shop, which prides itself on not selling anyone anything. Staff will happily show you choices and options for you to decide, they want happy customers and the sort of shop that they like to shop in.



Designed for Festiwool by Bonny Bonafilla

Festibear was inspired by a large ball of tweedy wool and a small boy who
was very put out by the number of girly toys Bonny had been designing.  The
squidgy wool was calling out to be made into a squidgy bear, and, let¹s face
it, nothing could be more universally appealing for boys and girls alike
than a traditional knitted teddy bear.

Festiwool, occurring as it does at the beginning of November when the nights are drawing in and we¹re about to embark on the long schlep through to Christmas, seemed the perfect time of the year to bring a new Ted into existence. Festibear would make a lovely present or stocking filler, and is guaranteed to become the perfect cuddle partner.

Bonny's pattern for Festibear will be available, free, in the first edition of the Festiwool magazine. In addition to Festibear, there will be an exlusive pattern from both Woolly Chic, and Sue Stratford, articles by Beaker Buttons (and others), the full list of Festiwool 2017 exhibitors, and much, much more. Festiwool magazine will be on Sale from mid-September, and will be available for purchase at the event.





Spotlight on .......

Bonny Bonafilla (Costa Brava Knitting)

Ex-city lawyer, Bonny Bonafilla, took a career break to start a family, and never went back. Today she runs Costa Brava Knitting, which offers small group knitting holidays on which knitters can relax, make new friends through their shared love of yarn, and enjoy the very best that the Costa Brava has to offer.  

A life-long knitting and sewing enthusiast, Bonny designs her own patterns, and enjoys working with natural fibres.  She’s especially keen on cables, gravitates towards the fire colours and likes to knit out-of-doors whenever possible.  

Bonny has designed a pattern exclusively for Festiwool 2017 - Festibear. Details about this and Festiwool's new, and exciting, venture will be available in the next issue of the Blog.

© BBC Woman's Hour

Most of us dream of being our own boss and getting to do what we love ALL day, EVERY day. But how do you make the leap and turn your passion for crafting – or anything else - into your own (ideally profitable) business? Woman's Hour picked the brains of three creative and wise Woman’s Hour guests to get their TOP tips so you can do just that…

Be prepared to spend most of your time NOT doing the one thing that you love
Think you’re going to be sewing / spinning / weaving all day to your heart’s content? Think again!

“I love knitting and I love making,” says Louise Walker, who launched a business selling Taxidermy-inspired knitting kits, Sincerely Louise. “But during my daytime at the office I have to do everything else; social media, the post, every little thing that makes up that business. There's very little time left to do that thing that you loved in the beginning.”

You should also expect that workload to change with the seasons too.

“Nearer Christmas you're making stuff constantly and sorting out posting and packing,” says Amy. “But at the start of the year it's probably more planning and admin, bookkeeping - so you have to be able to be a jack of all trades.”

Watch this space for the recording of Louisa's spot on Woman's Hour.

Festiwool BagALong

Designed exclusively for Festiwool by Samantha Roberts of Betsy Makes and Helen Ingram of Woolly Chic, you are invited to take part in our Festiwool BagAlong and make one of these stylish bags to bring with you on the day!

Tickets can be bought online, or in person from Kim of Hitchin Haberdashery

To receive your free patterns click on the links below and enter the code on your ticket at the checkout.

Knitted Bag

Crochet Bag 

Great Easter Bunny Hunt, Hitchin

Festiwool's knitting group, Hitchin Stitchin', was asked to provide knitted rabbits for the Great Easter Bunny Hunt, on the first weekend of the school holidays.

With the help of Festiwool, and Woolly Chic, we provided ten Easter Bunnies, who took part in the event. Each was named after a rabbit from children's stories, and was hidden in a shop window display. 

The event proved very popular. Many of those taking part asked if they could purchase their favourite rabbit. The Hunt took place on Saturday 1st April, and the winner was announced on 4th April.